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Chinese Literature
Siling hanmo zhi 思陵翰墨志 "Treatise on Brush and Ink from Siling Mound"


The Siling hanmo zhi 思陵翰墨志 "Treatise on Brush and Ink from Siling Mound", also called Gaozong hanmo zhi 高宗翰墨志, full title Gaozong huangdi yuzhi hanmo zhi 高宗皇帝御製翰墨志, short title Hanmozhi 翰墨志, is a book on painting and calligraphy written by Zhao Gou 趙構, who is better known as Emperor Gaozong 宋高宗 (r. 1127-1162) of the Song dynasty 宋 (960-1279). The short text was written during a period of illness in which Zhao Gou was not able to take the sword. The book was highly praised by Lu You 陸游 in his Weinan ji 渭南集 for the intuition with which the Emperor had understood the eight methods of calligraphy (bafa 八法). The encyclopedia Yuhai 玉海, written by Wang Yinglin 王應麟, explains that the author began with studies of the calligraphy of the Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126) master Huang Tingjian 黃庭堅, later that of Mi Fu 米芾, and finally that of the ancient Jin period 晉 (265-420) master Wang Xizhi 王羲之 and his son Wang Xianzhi 王獻之. A higher level of mastering the art of calligraphy was occupied with the oeuvres of Zhong Yao 鍾繇 and the two Wangs that were a precondition to finally develop an own style. The author explains that he had always been interested in callicraphy and saw this art as a great help for self-cultivation. A great part of practicing the art of calligraphy was to imitate ancient works or rubbings and copies of them. Emperor Gaozong was of the opinion that there were only very few Song period scholars that really mastered the skill of the brush, like Li Jianzhong 李建中, Cai Xiang 蔡襄 or Li Shiyong 李時雍, but also Su Shi 蘇軾, Huang Tingjian, Mi Fu and Xue Shaopeng 薛紹彭. Among the contemporarians Wu Yue 吳說, Xu Jing 徐競 and Du Tangxi 杜唐稽 were good, but not perfect. The author advocated the use of both the standard script (zhengshu 正書) and the grass script (caoshu 草書). He admired especially the latter, to be seen in his praise for the works of Mi Fu.
The book Hanmoji includes a chapter on the inkstone (Lun yan 論硯) that is very interesting for collectors. It is a very helpful book for the assessing of calligraphic skills of Song period masters. The Hanmoji is included in the collectanea Baichuan xuehai 百川學海, Zhanshi shuyuan buyi 詹氏書苑補益, Shuofu 說郛, Shuyuan 書苑 and Siku quanshu 四庫全書.


Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe, vol. 2, p. 1799.
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

October 22, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail